Triple champion Rafael Nadal racked up his 25th win in 25 Roland Garros matches as he joined third seeded Serb Novak Djokovic on a Sunday stroll into the French Open quarter-finals.
Nadal humbled fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, the 22nd seed, 6-1, 6-0, 6-2 and will now face Nicolas Almagro for a place in the semi-finals.
Australian Open champion Djokovic reached the quarter-finals for the third successive year thanks to a 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 win over French 18th seed Paul-Henri Mathieu.
He will face childhood friend Ernests Gulbis of Latvia after the 19-year-old ended the hopes of another Frenchman Michael Llodra 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 to reach his first ever Grand Slam quarter-final.
Djokovic praised his big serve which helped him save seven of the eight break points he saved against Mathieu.
“I served really well today and in the three previous matches here,” the Serb said. “It’s very encouraging for the rest of the tournament and for the future because I want to have it as a weapon.”
Djokovic broke Mathieu in the fifth game of the first set and then survived three break points in the 10th game to take the opener.
The world No. 3 was ahead with a break at 3-2 but Mathieu, encouraged by a 15,000 crowd, hit back only to surrender the advantage immediately to trail 4-3.
Mathieu, coached by former triple champion Mats Wilander, squandered four more break points in the eighth game and was broken again in the ninth to hand Djokovic a two-set lead.
The Serb wrapped up victory when Mathieu buried another running forehand into the net in the 10th game of the third set.
Gulbis, who trained with Djokovic when they were youngsters at the Munich academy owned by former Germany and Croatia Davis Cup captain Niki Pilic, had lost both his previous matches to Llodra, his senior by nine years.
“Michael is a tough opponent because he plays a strange kind of tennis. He serves and volleys and it’s tough to break him,” Gulbis said.
Almagro’s 7-6 (7/0), 7-6 (9/7), 7-5 win over French world No. 145 Jeremy Chardy allowed him to reach his first career Grand Slam quarter-final.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first